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6 Great Outlook Alternatives for All Platforms


Microsoft Outlook remains a giant of desktop email clients. It’s brimming with useful features related to mailbox organization, such as inbox rules, shared inboxes, and those under-appreciated follow-up flags. But if you’ve recently given up on your Office365 subscription or have otherwise left the Microsoft Office ecosystem, you should consider these Outlook alternatives.

Luckily, there are plenty of good options for users ranging from casuals to professionals, and we’ve gathered our favorite alternatives to Microsoft Outlook in this list.

Also helpful: set up auto-forwarding in Outlook to receive your email in any inbox.

1. Best for a Familiar Interface: eM Client

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

So long as you don’t want to have many accounts simultaneously, eM Client is a great, free desktop email app. It lets you view your email accounts separately or in a seamless universal inbox, and you can easily manage all your inboxes and folders in the left pane.

eM Client is one of the best Outlook alternatives, as the interface is quite similar to Microsoft Outlook. There is an inbox, calendar, contacts, and other sections on the bottom, with a “More” option to see the hidden areas. The contact details, agenda, and chat icons are on the right.

Additional features include snooze, tags, signatures, notifications, encryption, and robust email formatting options. It also has an excellent dark theme option. The only thing we can say against it is that the free version limits your use to just two email accounts (the unlimited/commercial version is $50).

Tip: for more details on this Outlook alternative, check out our review of eM Client for Mac.

2. Best for a Productive Environment: Thunderbird

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Thunderbird is the first port of call for most people looking for a swift alternative to Outlook. It’s been around for a long time and continues to impress. With support for unlimited email accounts, tons of plugins, and lightning-quick functionality, its place on the email client throne is well deserved.

What makes Thunderbird stand out as one of the most productive Outlook alternatives is the built-in address book, calendar, task manager, and chat area. These sections allow you to work on your inbox, manage your contacts, plan events, add and complete tasks, and chat with coworkers in one spot. Conveniently, each area you open resides in its tab window.

Thunderbird easily syncs up with major providers, like Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo, but you can manually set it up to play nice with most IMAP and POP3 email services. Download Thunderbird for free, and optionally donate to support the application.

3. Best for Teams: Spark

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

The Spark email app is from Readdle, the company behind apps like Fluix, PDF Expert, and Scanner Mini. With all the basic features you’d expect in an email client, Spark’s standout features make it ideal for teams. You can share messages, assign emails with or without due dates, use a shared inbox for team access, and collaborate on email drafts. You can also add comments to emails that you share and work on together.

Spark Email Inbox On Windows

Additional features you’ll enjoy include a smart inbox for organization and the ability to pin emails to keep them at the top. You can also snooze messages, set reminders, and schedule emails.

Some team features are unavailable for Spark on Windows, such as shared inboxes, assignments, and shared drafts. Download Spark for free or check out the Spark subscription plans for more features.

Good to know: these Microsoft Outlook keyboard shortcuts let you perform actions without hunting through menus and the ribbon.

4. Best for Email Tracking: Mailspring

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

If you’re browsing Outlook alternatives, looking for one that will let you know whether your emails are opened and the links you include are clicked, check out the Mailspring email client. When you compose an email, you can enable link tracking, open tracking, or both. You’ll see an indicator for these activities on the top left of the application window. Click to see the corresponding messages, and select “Activity View“ for a complete report.

Mailspring Inbox on Windows

Other features that make Mailspring an excellent Outlook alternative include contact details, like LinkedIn profiles and message history, snooze and reminders, customizable smart replies, and email scheduling. You can also share email threads by obtaining a secret link.

As a bonus, when you first install Mailspring, you’ll receive emails with prompts to perform actions that help you familiarize yourself with the application. Download Mailspring for free, and look at Mailspring Pro for additional features.

5. Best for AI Assistance: BlueMail

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

When you need a little help typing precisely what you want to say, BlueMail’s AI assistant can help. Using BlueMail GEM AI, you can reply to or compose an email and summarize messages you receive using artificial intelligence. Enter a brief of what you want to say, and BlueMail provides a message, including the subject line. For replies, the AI tool also considers the recipient’s original email.

BlueMail Inbox on Windows

Another feature you’ll like is the Later Board for organizing incoming messages based on when you want to respond. Like a Kanban board, you can move the messages to the Done list when finished. You can also use the built-in Calendar and Contacts sections of the app for a complete email client package.

You’ll enjoy the healthy number of settings you can adjust for BlueMail. From the appearance and theme to folder management and signatures, this free email app is one to try.

Tip: use ChatGPT to write email and other forms of written communication.

6. Best for Sending Secure Messages: Canary Mail

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Canary Mail offers a way to securely send email, which is its standout feature. Send an encrypted message with “SecureSend,” and optionally include an expiration date. Your recipient receives an email that you’ve sent them a message, can sign in to Google or obtain a Magic Link to open the email, then send you a secure reply.

Canary Mail Inbox on Windows

This email application also offers a robust AI feature called Copilot for composing emails you send and summarizing emails you receive. You can pin, snooze, and star emails, mark spam, and unsubscribe from email lists.

Additional features include read receipts, a bulk inbox cleaner, filters, swipe actions, shortcuts, notifications, templates, and more.

Which Alternative Will You Choose?

With this assortment of email clients we’ve gathered here, you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that suits your needs perfectly. But you may find that the online-only services suffice, and you won’t need any of these. If some form of local backup to your email is important to you, then look no further.

For even more options, look at these email clients for Linux.

Image credit: Canva. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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